From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development

October 2006
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Improving Chances for Interviews: Tailor Your Resume
Filed under: Position Searching, Public Relations docs, Recruiters
Posted by: site admin @ 9:11 am

Hi Dan,

 You are back! :)
 Hope you had a nice vacation (?).

 I visited the acs website you sent me, and under CCP I requested you to be 
my consultant. 

I was at the Biospace career fair in Burlingame and forwarded my resume to 
some small companies, such as Vaxgen, Cotherix, Codexis.

 At the fair I also submitted my resume and cover letter to Gilead 
Sciences. I applied for a Sr. Research Associate position (synthesis).

 Moreover, I talked to Bayer Healtcare’s people (from engineering, 
manufacturing and also to the hiring manager of R & D).  The engineering 
guy turned out to be a german guy, called G, with whom I had a nice 
conversation. He suggested me to start from analytical chemistry 
department. So I talked to the R&D person, E. She was interested in my 
analytical background and german skill. She gave me her business card and 
asked me to e-mail her my resume. I did that already on thursday.
 I was searching online for some analytical jobs at Bayer Healthcare and I 
then contacted G to find out about the specific tasks. We should talk 
on the phone some time next week.
 Before coming to the fair, I didn’t consider Bayer, as they don’t have any 
openings for someone with my background. Now, I am also open to analytical 
work. I will keep you updated.

 I as well talked to two scientific recruiters, and after the fair I 
e-mailed them my resume, as requested. I have an appointment with one of 
them on Monday, October 30th, 2006. We will have a detailed conversation 
about my qualifications and interests. I think it is not a bad idea to 
have the recruiters to find me a position.

 That’s pretty much what was significant all this time.

 Your comments and suggestions are always welcomed.



Mentoring 1.
Filed under: Mentoring, First Year on Job
Posted by: site admin @ 11:14 am

Just found an interesting perspective in “Computerworld” (Oct. 9, 2006,
P. 52) article by John E. West that relates nicely to the application in our
technical skills in many areas of employment– for those just starting out,
in mid-career, or more mature.  The article is titled, “Leading from Day
One– Don’t wait to develop crucial leadership skills.  Start today.”

The article has a nice impactful style. It provides text on what
could be done.  In a small highlighted box, it gives “watch-outs,”
that are maistakes to avoid.

In the work-world stressing underscoring team work and not “going
it alone,” he points out how one can develop and demonstrate five
leadership best practices.

1.  See, understand and work,  understanding the big(ger) picture. 
Try to prioritize the work you do, so that it fits into the picture at least
two levels up from you.
2.  Understand what could be better today. 
Do the thinking, develop the “eyes wide open” awareness and learn
appropriate timing tactics when to propose, introduce or provide
feedback.  In other words, don’t just blurt it out.
3.  Assume responsibility for actions and learn from the hard lessons
of  “owned-up-to” mistakes.
4.  Recognize others’ efforts as part of your daily interpersonal activities.
5.  Act as a mentor to share your know-how, assist others to do well
and learn in a continuous improvement model.

The article is abstracted from a book by John E. West, The Only
Trait of a Leader; 
See also:  .

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Cover Letter 3.
Filed under: Public Relations docs
Posted by: site admin @ 10:23 am

Dear Dan,

>> I know you mentioned you will be away for a couple of weeks. But just
 want to try my luck.  Attached are my cover letter and an essay required
 by Mckinsey for application.  Please let me know what you think.  The
 so-called deadline is 14th of October but if you see this after that,
 could you look at them any way?
 Thanks so much.

Ju , Ph.D.
 Chemistry Dept
 P S University
 1 Chemistry Building
 Park, P, 11111
 Office: (111) 111-1111
 Mobile: (111) 112-1111

1 comment
Interviewing Preparation
Filed under: Interviewing
Posted by: site admin @ 9:48 am

Hi!  Although you will read about a couple of other topics in this email
exchange, please focus on the interview preparation.  To help the
readers(s) obtain some context, I will simply offer some exchanges
over time…

 Dear Dan,            Sept. 15

Hope you had a nice trip back.  I stopped by on Wednesday
afternoon to say goodbye, but I think Mary and you had already left. 
Ray (I forgot his last name) said he is a good friend of yours and he
helped review my resume again.  I can’t thank you enough for
encouraging me to go to this ACS meeting.  I ended up having 5
interviews.  Although two of them from Merck, and one asked
for citizenship, I still learned a lot.  And the workshop was very
helpful too. During the meeting, I also got to know other
opportunities for chemists.  Would you be able to recommend a
good source for non-bench jobs for chemists, such as
administrative?  Do you have to do research work first anyway
to eventually get there?  I didn’t get the chance to ask the consultant
service there.  Thank you so much for any information.

Best Regards,

 Hi J,                  Sept. 16 

I believe you referred to Ray O’Donnell in your note. 
… a good source for non bench jobs– Lisa Balbes.

The rest of the note responds to other elements of your kind
message.  You were very successful in getting 5 interviews at the
meeting.  Only the very best obtain more than one per day! 
It is not unusual for better interviewers to ask about citizenship. 
It is not a bad thing if you have the credentials they are seeking. 
Have you posed the follow-up questions that should be asked after
interviews?  Please see a recent posting in my blog about this. 
I think it could help in listing what you should learn about yourself
and intervewing.  Have you written thank you notes to each interview?

J, when thinking about other jobs outside of the lab, think about
what motivates you the most.
 Do you like working with people? 
 Do you like implementing things or making things work?
 Have you considered working in a small company?  This might end up being “out of the lab”.

To have a non-lab job, one might consider having experience in such roles.  One could should show skills
that show and aptitude for working with people or computers.

J, hope this helps.

 Dear Dan,                           Sept. 22

I have sent out thank you notes last weekend after I came back.
A few of them replied, a few didn’t.  I am not sure what you mean
by “follow-up questions” but I will be glad to look for them on your
blog. Do you mean questions like how long I will hear from them?
They all told me 2 to 3 weeks.
As to non bench jobs, I was thinking of applying for consulting
companies such as Mckinsey,,
as what they call APD (advanced professional degree). But since I
know nothing about this at all, still kind of  wondering.  I do like
to work with people, but like  you said, not with much experience,
and also, might be because I have been playing with instruments for
too long.  The small company idea is great, but the problem with me
is small company might not be stable enough and if anything happens
to the company, I will be messed up with the visa issue.

Thanks again for all your kindest help and encouragement.

have a great weekend,


J,                                        Oct. 3 

I do recommend contacting Katherine as she is a very energetic
and proactive person who has good insight into ACS and career

Is there anything I might do for you in the short term?
I will be unavailable for a couple of weeks and not reachable
via email or phone.


Thanks. I will contact Katherine then. I have just received an invitation
to onsite interview with Merck–I had interview with them at the ACS
meeting. Any advice on onsite interview and what questions I should ask? 
Thanks again for encouraging me to go to ACS.  I will let you know how it goes.

have a good day,

1 comment
Mid-career interview questions
Filed under: Interviewing
Posted by: site admin @ 11:08 am

In many of our interview workshops we mention that you can guess nearly
80 per cent of the questions you might be asked in an interview.  The
interview is not, however, simply a skills evaluation.  It is more.  This
is the case for mid-career professionals as well.  An interview also
establishes your fit into the new work environment and key performance
factors and motivations about which the interviewer(s) wish to learn. 

This post proposes to offer a link to a Wall Street Journal page containing
a nice list of questions one should prepare for.

In addition, some ideas about developing responses that might allow you to
be a practive participant in an interview, even if it is a panel where you may
be asked questions from several different perspectives.  It is key to prepare
and practice for interviews.

Know yourself and your key attributes and selling points.  Then develop an
style to respond to interview questions by delivering specific information,
followed by a link to either validate a skill point or ask a question of the
interviewer.  This will allow you to both learn interview the organization
and influence the direction of the conversation.

Prepare personal anecdotes with clear purposes.  We use the acronym
STAR (or CAR) stories  to help to mentally organize a story with a
purpose in less than a couple of minutes.  STAR representing “situation-
task undertaken-actions-results.”

Mid-career people also have the responsibility of revealing your value
to the organization and flexibility, organization, and savvy to perceive
things that are inferred.  This is the telling element of the STAR story. 
It is unlikely you have a story that fits every interview question. Realize
that the interviewer will really be interested in a limited range of topics. 
You can “morph” your story to these generalized topics.

Skilled interviewers pose open-ended questions, not to confuse the
person being interviewed, but to offer the person the chance to put
their mark on the conversation, understanding its purpose (bring in a
person who can do the job, wants the job, and will do the job) and
limitations (time, cost, and competition).  That means the person taking
the interview needs to gain information about the position and issues
in the company.  Then, having done the homework, provide tailored
responses about specific qualifications and how you can help.

Often challenging discussions of work history, in addition, need to be
well thought out and even practiced with a skilled and experienced
mentor.  “Why did you move so quickly?  Why did you stay so long? 
Why are you changing now?  Why did you fail to get a promotion?” 
are real questions with bearing on their decision to hire you.  Often,
taking the “high road” indicating the learning process for you or the
long term benefit of the organization can reveal a mature attitude
when delivered soberly and with sincerity.

Please look at the linked question list and offer your responses to
me how you might respond (or have responded) to some questions. 

This could be a valuable forum activity. 
Thank you in advance for participating.


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